WASTECON 2022 helps public sector solid waste leaders and their teams plan sustainable futures for their communities. This year’s conference is in beautiful San Diego, CA. SWANA’s Safety Summit is returning to WASTECON 2022 to provide the latest in industry health and safety information and practices.
SCS Engineers will be right up front in booth 503 with demos and our experts at hand.
“Don’t Waste Our Future”
In recent years, sustainability is all about going “circular”. Across all industries, big or small, businesses are adopting sustainability strategy to stay competitive, but weaving our economic system into one harmonious, never-ending bundle of reduce, reuse and recovery is no easy task. And in this endemic situation, as we reopen borders and economies, “don’t waste our future” is a perfect opportunity and platform for business leaders and entrepreneurs, technology developers, solutions providers as well as policymakers to gather and discuss, What are the key trends and the opportunities for investors and businesses in Asia? How can we reinvent resource recovery and regeneration to promote decarbonization and climate change? How can we leverage technology, innovation, and sustainable solutions in order to rebuild faster and better? And also, how can we unleash young talents to contribute to future business sustainability?
Internal ISWA meetings will take place 2 days prior to the ISWA World Congress. Details to follow.
SCS Engineers is expanding its Phoenix, Arizona, office to meet the growing demand for sustainable environmental consulting and engineering. Recent employee-owners joining the firm are pictured upper left to right, including Samantha Montgomery, a technical associate; Mike Bradford, senior professional engineer; Cynthia Neitzel, a professional engineer; and Taylor Goins, field services working as part of SCS’s comprehensive team.
Montgomery’s focus is to prepare monthly, semi-annual, and annual greenhouse gas reports, along with processing and analyzing the data associated with those reports. She specializes in air quality compliance and permitting, particularly for landfills.
Bradford brings more than 20 years of experience in civil engineering and project management. He has been the principal engineer and engineer of record for a wide range of public and private sector capital projects in Arizona and across the country for solid waste landfills and other public works civil projects.
As a landfill project manager focusing on landfill gas collection and control systems and compliance reporting, Neitzel brings more than 20 years of experience. She has a background in landfill design, construction quality assurance, and air quality permitting and compliance.
Goins provides clients with landfill gas monitoring and other related environmental monitoring services, helping them reduce operational costs and protect air quality. He also operates and maintains other environmental pollution control systems.
“Mike and Cynthia bring invaluable experience creating and overseeing environmental solutions for municipalities and businesses, which provide essential services in our region,” said Pat Sullivan, senior vice president of SCS Engineers. “They, along with the rest of the team, join SCS to serve our clients who are actively seeking to protect public health and the environment as part of doing business, whether that’s remediating property, operating a landfill, lowering their carbon footprint, or running a fuel station.
SCS Engineers’ environmental solutions and technology directly result from our experience and dedication to our clients responsible for safeguarding the environment as they deliver their services and products. For more information about joining this remarkable national firm, please visit SCS Engineers Careers.
Engineering News Report publishes the ENR Top 500 List, which ranks global design/engineering firms by revenue. SCS Engineers again ranks in the top 100, moving up this year from #73 to #59. We thank our clients and our employee-owners for helping SCS continue to rank as a top-tier environmental services engineering, consultanting, and construction firm.
ENR is one of the premier companies tracking the A&E industry, and these rankings are closely followed as they publish throughout the year. SCS Engineers is also recognized in the Sewer & Waste List of Top 20 companies globally, ranking at #5, up from #10 the previous year.
Climate change and reducing our nation’s carbon footprint are important challenges facing our planet. SCS Engineers remains a leader in recovering and utilizing methane from landfills, a potent greenhouse gas. In the last decade, we’ve been expanding our role to include more utilization of biogas from agriculture, carbon sequestration, management of other greenhouse gas and environmental impacts for multiple sectors while reducing methane production in landfills by diverting organics.
SCS designs and supports innovative environmental solutions with our in-house award-winning technologies to help our clients. With more data and control available 24/7, our clients can make more informed decisions, operate more efficiently, running cleaner and safer while delivering essential services, products, and properties.
If you thrive in a friendly, collaborative, and client-focused company, SCS Engineers is the place for you, and we’re growing! We’re looking for field technicians to work collaboratively on our Field Services teams nationwide. Specific information is posted for each open position. Use our job search to find your desired location.
Under general supervision, our technicians operate, monitor, and maintain gas migration control and recovery systems, including gas well monitoring and adjustment, troubleshooting, and system repairs. These systems capture emissions that keep our planet cleaner. SCS clients entrust us with the management of more than 35 million metric tons of anthropogenic CO2e greenhouse gases every year. We collect and beneficially use or destroy enough to offset greenhouse gas emissions from 7.4 million passenger cars annually.
Become one of the growing engineers, consultants, scientists, and technicians helping private and public entities run cleaner and more efficiently. A very rewarding place to have a career! Department of Labor blog Where Green Jobs Grow on green careers.
There are no off-the-shelf landfill gas collection and control systems (GCCS). Rather these highly engineered components are configured precisely to tailor to each landfill’s needs. With intricate designs, these flexible high-dollar infrastructure systems take operators into the future to adapt to changing regulations around emissions and the evolving waste streams that affect gas production.
Building the right system and effectively forecasting requires a master plan, aka a road map. Your master plan not only maps a path forward, keeping operators on a solid footing by informing them on exactly what gas collection and destruction equipment to buy, when to buy it, and how to size it; they can serve other useful purposes.
“Over time, it’s not unusual for landfill operators to see symptoms of problems surface, whether emission exceedances or odor complaints. When we analyze the situations, the problems are most often caused by gas collection and control system deficiencies. We can avoid these deficiencies by working toward a facility master plan from the beginning. Then with major expansions or over, say, five years, we update the plan. “So, suppose you do not have currently have a master plan in place. In that case, we recommend preparing one to prevent what should be a planned event like flare installation from becoming more expensive problems,” says Vidhya Viswanathan, PE, an SCS Engineers Vice President.
Engineer and colleague to Viswanathan, Maura Dougherty, PE, echoes: there are powerful cost savings in a master plan. “This is a tool to layout where the site’s headed so that the equipment you are installing in the near term is relevant to what you will need down the road. Otherwise, you could end up installing then ripping out millions of dollars of infrastructure and having to start again.”
Modeling: where the site will produce gas and how much it will produce
Several metrics go into the model, which contributes to gas generation: waste tonnage per year and content of the stream, with close attention paid to changes in the waste stream, among others.
The beauty of your master plan is that it provides a framework to fall back on, with operators able to adjust the numbers to determine how they impact the model and, ultimately, if they need to make adjustments to the GCCS. It’s proving especially instrumental as landfill operators take in more types of wastes and ramp up for state regulations such as California’s SB1383 that ban landfilling organic waste (the largest contributor to landfill methane production).
Master plan schedule: plays a critical role as operators build out cells
It helps prevent bottlenecks during the permitting process through cell launch. And can serve as a financial planning tool.
Viswanathan explains: “Equipment production can take six months, and permitting can sometimes take up to 18 months. So, it becomes important to have a good sense of timing to free up capital for exactly what is needed, when it is needed.
You leverage your master plan to estimate design needs and costs based on how many standard cubic feet per minute of gas you expect. You figure out what you need in the way of length and size of pipe, number of wells, blowers, even flares, and how frequently components will need replacement.”
The data also serves as a budgeting tool beyond guiding field spending decisions. The information that informs the master plan also provides capital expense information to your financial modeling and economic analyses. The more information you have, the more accurately you can determine tipping fees to get a larger return on investments ─ useful when making a case to city councils for budget approval.
It takes a team
Not long ago, Dougherty worked on a landfill-gas-to-energy facility for a site that had yet to develop collection infrastructure to support it. There was a lot of work to do; it was to be a large project. To start, she created a five-year plan, then set to work on a 25-year master plan to take her client further. But first, Dougherty brought every professional into the room who might touch on the project.
“We had to consider what would be most effective from design, operational, and safety perspectives. And there were a lot of engineered pieces, so we had to make sure they would fit together and function well to accomplish this,” she says.
The team worked from a spreadsheet that tracked each part and decision, and Dougherty had every player involved in the process check it whenever they were ready to take another step. “It’s how we can plan out to prevent potential problems. For example, we were discussing the blower design. We learned that one of the vendor’s components would pressurize at a level, creating a potentially dangerous situation in this scenario. We could proactively engineer around the potential problem.
By the time we were ready to begin construction, we had a thoroughly vetted plan and buy-in from the whole team on the final design. We were confident it was safe, efficient, and would meet site-specific needs for years to come,” Dougherty says.
Viswanathan, Dougherty, and their SCS colleagues often team for projects, as they have similar yet different perspectives working on multiple sites and bring that collective experience to the table. “What’s exciting about working on landfill gas systems is that even though there are universal tenants of engineering designs, every site is unique,” Dougherty says.
“We’ve seen different scenarios month to month, year on year. So, collectively we’ve seen any number of conditions that may require more nimble engineering or responses on the ground. Teaming makes us stronger and better able to achieve.”
Keeping the plan and your goals in sight
When operators have a master plan in place and do routine design and construction, keeping that plan in sight, the payoff is a system that serves them well and costs less. They can prepare early for capturing their gas, use the plan to install gas collection infrastructure on a timely basis, and help guide them through post-closure.
Join SCS Engineers at the 8th Annual New York State Organics Summit on April 5-6, 2022, in Albany, NY, at Albany Capital Center. This year’s event is a hybrid, offering attendees the chance to participate in-person or virtually.
At this Summit, we’ll cover:
Student Sponsorships are Available if you can’t manage the registration fee. JSA Sustainable Wealth Management offers to pay the enrollment fee for up to 5 students who self-identify as needing a scholarship for the Summit. For student scholarship enrollment, email and with your name, email address, where you go to school, a short paragraph about what you’d like to learn from the NYS Organics Summit, and how you might take action from what you learn.
USCC Young Professionals Meet & Greet for students, young professionals, or those new to the composting industry. Join us in meeting one another and hearing about the various opportunities offered through the U.S. Composting Council and the Young Professionals Group.
As an add-on to your registration, you can purchase a ticket to tour the Town of Bethlehem Composting Facility. Visit a large municipal compost facility at an exciting time in its 20-year history, learning about the infrastructure and operational steps they have taken to transition from two decades of processing yard waste to now incorporating food scraps. The tour will include a demonstration of composting equipment, including the new Aerated Static Pile (ASP) equipment used to process food scraps on a larger scale.
When we think of farming, most of us think of fresh air, big skies, and acres of open land. One of the oldest industries is transforming to meet the increasing demand for commercially grown produce, wine, hemp, and cannabis with emerging agriculture odor management strategies.
Agricultural commerce brings jobs but also a few unwelcome odors. Hemp farms have distinct odors, vineyards spray elemental sulfur smelling of rotten eggs on wine grapes, and cannabis facilities can smell at different stages of plant growth. Even a farm growing cut flowers, when fertilized, will have a measurable smell.
A wine’s aroma is usually floral, citrus, or earthy, and Thanksgiving Day is the smell of home and hearth. However, getting these agricultural products grown and processed can sometimes be smelly. Many environmental technologies are being adapted for use in agriculture. Some are the result of industrial risk management and even landfill technologies for controlling odors and maintaining good air quality. As with landfills, they work best when designed for a specific site with site-specific wind conditions and site-specific distances from the nearest neighbors.
Hemp and cannabis growing facilities, both indoors and out, get odor complaints, so operators plan ahead to manage them. Odor intrusion for facilities coexisting in dense urban areas or com-mingled with other industries nearby tends to get more complaints, where the odor source is more complicated to pinpoint. On larger tracts, greenhouses, and small farms, air-misting systems or air blocking vegetation are more common.
“We can assess the potential concentration (odor strength) using known chemical surrogates emitting from cannabis. However, this approach has considerable weaknesses since many of the odor-causing compounds are difficult to detect at concentrations near their odor detection thresholds,” says Paul Schafer of SCS Engineers. “The ratios of emitted compounds are variable based on cannabis strain and time in the plants’ lifecycle, drying/curing/processing method, and varying atmospheric chemistry following emission.”
Some proposed cannabis greenhouses filing for a permit use an internal carbon filtration system to prevent fugitive pot odors from becoming a neighborhood nuisance. This indoor odor-control system would replace outdoor air-misting systems used by some greenhouse operations and commonly at landfills. The outdoor systems neutralize smells by changing the molecular structure of escaping vapors and work best when designed to work with air patterns. They are useful when there is a larger buffer zone because odors typically rise or flow in patterns.
Production hubs on larger acreage, even property utilized for agriculture for decades, require remediation. Many firms use modern greenhouse structures encompassing hundreds of thousands of square feet with processing plants. Schafer explains “As an odor and air monitoring expert and environmental engineering consultant, my job is to assess how various environmental technologies work under specific conditions to these companies and at times to the public. We use and investigate specialized technologies for industrial or agricultural use because they require specialized odor reduction, are safe, and can be successfully utilized to manage air quality and odors.”
As farming, businesses, and housing coexist across the nation, SCS’s water, soil, and air management teams are tweaking environmental technologies to help communities and new-age farmers remain good neighbors. Schafer who is the firm’s Ambient Air Monitoring expert puts it this way, “As engineers and consultants, we help communities and industry thrive together.”
Farmers or growers strive to include more ethical and sustainable growing practices, such as higher standards for water use and purifying their wastewater for reuse. As urban areas grow and farmland shrinks, stormwater management is essential to help new-age farmers operate sustainably and meet growing stormwater regulations that protect water supplies and the environment.
These aren’t the only greenhouses we work in.
The proven sustainable environmental solutions SCS Engineers offers to the agricultural, construction, extraction, manufacturing sectors, and municipalities help them attain their cleaner operating goals. As an environmental consulting and construction firm, we produce measurable technologies and programs that capture and reduce more greenhouse gases for private and public clients than any other environmental firm in the Americas.
The San Diego Business Journal named two SCS Engineers professionals among the Top 50 Influential Women in Engineering for 2022. The Journal recognized Vidhya Viswanathan and Jennifer Morton for their career achievements and status among San Diego’s top women in the engineering field. Both women have advanced their careers with award-winning projects for their clients, value their involvement in industry associations, and serve as thought leaders in environmental engineering.
“We congratulate Vidhya and Jennifer on this outstanding recognition,” said Pat Sullivan, SCS senior vice president. “In addition to being leaders at SCS, both women have a proven track record advancing the environmental engineering field for all engineers and especially students and girls aspiring to become engineers and geologists in the future.”
As a Vice President and the Southwest Director of Engineering, Vidhya Viswanathan leads the firm’s solid waste engineering operations in California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. Viswanathan spent the last several years at SCS broadening her client base in the Southwest and expanding her expertise from solid waste and environmental engineering to include renewable energy, recycling, and organics management. In addition to leading engineering operations in the Southwest, Viswanathan leads SCS’s strategic initiative on composting systems and facilities. Viswanathan is active in solid waste and renewables industry associations and has won awards for her projects as a rising young professional.
Jennifer Bauer Morton is a licensed professional geologist working in the environmental consulting industry for over 16 years, supporting commercial real estate transactions and site cleanups. As a geologist, Morton has supported numerous assessment and remediation projects at contaminated properties throughout Southern California. She has worked with environmental engineers to develop remediation systems used to clean up soil and groundwater and has developed site mitigation plans which help to keep the community safe from contamination. Morton also served as Vice-President and then President of the San Diego Association of Geologists and was the editor of Coast to Cactus: Geology and Tectonics, San Diego to the Salton Trough, a guidebook accompanying the group’s 2014 field trip.
About SCS Engineers
SCS Engineers’ environmental solutions and technology directly result from our experience and dedication to industries responsible for safeguarding the environment as they deliver services and products. For more information about us, please visit the SCS Engineers website, or watch our video to see what we can do for your community.
Careers in Environmental Engineering, Consulting, Technology, and Operations – Join the finest environmental team in North America.
Co-Authors Joseph Duckett and Jeffrey Pierce argue that we should “Hold It” long enough to follow facts and science before accepting environmental misconceptions. History shows popular beliefs about environmental hazards and health risks – alarmist or dismissive – are sometimes wrong.
We recommend their new book, Hold It! The Case for Hard Thinking, Honesty and Humility when Assessing Environmental Health Risks. It’s the #1 new release in Amazon’s Pollution Engineering category. Both authors take an objective look at some of today’s and yesterday’s most controversial environmental topics.
SCS Engineers has built an impressive history, set of accomplishments and qualifications in designing, building and operating Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) facilities. SCS creates the RNG by removing almost all other gas constituents except the methane. These other constituents include carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), sulfur compounds, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), siloxanes, oxygen, nitrogen, and waste.
Leaders such as Jeff Pierce of SCS Engineers employ decades of energy systems expertise to analyze and evaluate the effects of variations in processes and the parameters important to successful facilities. They model and evaluate complex systems and processes to evaluate plant performance. They account for project objectives and requirements while considering technical, business, energy, and environmental objectives.
Biogas recovery systems are feasible for landfills, large dairy, hog, poultry, and beef operations. In short, using science and facts to make sustainable decisions has a much greater impact on addressing climate change.